Sorrow and suffering are not often perceived in a positive light in our society. Quite the opposite as we run to the medicine cabinet for a pill, call the doctor for an appointment and a procedure or quickly google a pain management technique.
We simply do not want to be inconvenienced for very long. Instead, we want comfort-free living with little to no aches and agonies. After all, isn’t the goal for our lives to be happy and healthy and thus painless, right?
While that may be the horizontal objective when self drives the discussion, God has an entirely different outlook when our world is jolted by the intrusion of suffering. Instead of negative overtures, scripture announces a multitude of benefits.
We learn patience through trials (James 1:3). We experience a peace that passes understanding in difficulty (Philippians 4:7). We receive comfort from above so we can comfort others below (2 Corinthians 1:4). We find renewed, spiritual strength in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Most importantly, in the midst of “misery,” we enter into a special fellowship with Christ who suffered for us, that we may experience a deeper knowledge of our Savior that is not possible apart from such suffering (Philippians 3:10). Since there is much to gain from pain, we might want to rethink this!